Neighbors hurting neighbors
9 a.m. — 100 block of Coral Reef N. Court
Theft: A 46-year-old woman joined a “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Facebook group only to find that the neighbors she connected with had more nefarious goals.
The woman had been seeking home with “household chores and all around help with medical issues,” according to a Sheriff’s Office charging affidavit.
She connected with an R-section couple, who ended up spending time at her house almost daily.
She had the woman help her with her medication, but became suspicious April 13, when the ”friend” kept asking her if she needed more.
The following evening, she spent the night away, then retuned home to discover that someone had stolen a Toro brand 22-inch lawn mower and a 6.5-gallon Rigid shop vac.
She suspected her new “friends,” who knew she kept the garage door slightly ajar for her pets. A deputy drove to the couple’s home.
The man who answered the door let the deputy in the garage, where the deputy “observed numerous mowers,” including a Toro 22-inch with a “serial number on the motor portion which appeared to have been taped on.”
Another serial number, underneath the flap, matched the victim’s. There was also a Rigid shop vac with the same serial number as the victim’s.
The man insisted he’d bought it in another state.
The deputy photographed the stolen goods, returned them to the victim, and arrested the man on one charge of theft from a dwelling and one charge of possession of property with an altered serial number.
Dodged the bullet
5:42 p.m. — 100 block of Cypress Point Parkway
Fraud: An 80-year-old woman told deputies that she’s received a letter in the mail April 13 telling her she’d won a $2.5 million lottery prize.
The letter, which arrived on April 13 from an Austin, Texas, address and included a $6,514 check, said that it was from the “Multi-State Lottery Association” and that the woman needed to contact a claims manager by phone.
The “claims manager” told the woman to deposit the check and withdraw $5,860 to give to a third-party recipient who would arrive at the woman’s home between 4 and 6 p.m. April 17 to take the cash in exchange for a $2.5 million check.
The scammer told the woman to make sure there would be no one else at her house at that time. Instead, the woman reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office April 16.
Deputies copied the paperwork for their records but couldn’t copy the check, which the woman had already deposited.
Scammers often send victims fraudulent checks that are good enough to be deposited, but are discovered a few weeks later in the banks’ verification process. By that time, the victim has often already been bilked out of their money.